Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Facebook buys Israeli facial recognition firm Face.com

Social networking giant Facebook has decided to buy an Israeli startup specialising in facial recognition technology - Face.com.

The firm already provides software that allows Facebook's members to identify and tag photos of their friends.

The terms of the deal are not known, but Reuters quotes estimates of $55-60m (£35-38m).

Tagging is a popular feature on Facebook, but privacy advocates have raised concerns about the technology.

Face.com's software scans photos Facebook users upload, and suggests friends they may wish to tag with just one click.

According to the social network, the acquisition does not mean there will be changes to Facebook's current face detection and recognition systems for photos.

Screenshot of Face.com

"Start Quote

We would hope to see very strict safeguards on how this information is stored and who has access to it"

Emma Draper Privacy International

"People who use Facebook enjoy sharing photos and memories with their friends, and Face.com's technology has helped to provide the best photo experience," said Facebook's spokesperson in a statement to the BBC.

"This transaction simply brings a world-class team and a long-time technology vendor in house."

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